Purchase of Development Rights

Whatcom_PDR_logo_wideResponding to the loss of County farmland, Whatcom County Executive initiated the development of a Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program in September of 2001.  Resolution 2001-049

In conjunction with other tools for protecting farmland, the Whatcom County Purchase of Development Rights Program will contribute to sustaining the farming enterprise in Whatcom County.

The PDR program is a voluntary program that compensates property owners for the value of their unexercised residential development potential and enacts agricultural, forestry, and/or ecosystem conservation easements.  Through protecting our agricultural and forestry resource lands in addition to our important ecosystem areas we are protecting local economies and local ecosystems for current and future generations.

PDR Program Guidelines
PDR Program Application

PDR Oversight Committee


The Purchase of Development Rights Oversight Committee provides oversight and evaluation for the Whatcom County Purchase of Development Rights program, which will enhance the protection of the county's farmland, enhance the long-term viability of agricultural enterprises within the county and provide public benefit by retaining properties in permanent resource use. This committee's role is to advise the Council in the selection of eligible lands offered for Purchase of Development Rights acquisition.  Meets on a quarterly basis, as needed; four-year term. Executive-appointed.

There are 7 members of the Purchase of Development Rights Oversight Committee:

  • 3 Whatcom County farmers
  • 1 citizen (non-farmer) from incorporated city
  • 1 citizen (non-farmer) from unincorporated county
  • 1 individual representing farm-supporting businesses
  • 1 individual with real estate experience


   Whatcom County was awarded approximately $1.3 million through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program for a project entitled Whatcom County Working Lands Conserving Watersheds.  This is a partnership between Whatcom County, the Whatcom Conservation District, the Whatcom Land Trust, and the Ag Water Board to cooperate to strategically protect agricultural land through enactment of agricultural conservation easements.  This coordinated effort will  be underway through 2022 and will result in the protection of an estimated additional 650 agricultural acres.  


Date of Formation

  • December 8, 2002

Purchase of Development Rights Oversight Committee Meeting Information

Date Agenda Minutes
April 26, 2019 Agenda  
March 22, 2019 Agenda  
February 22, 2019 Agenda  
August 24, 2018 Agenda Minutes
July 27, 2018 Agenda Minutes


Sean D'Agnolo chair Paul Schissler
Burr Neely, vice-chair Heather MacKay-Brown
Greg Ebe Jen Glyzinski